Shadowrun overview

[This is the penultimate post from my past persona.  Shadowrun is probably my favourite RPG ever.  This was written in the time of SR3.  I think we are on version 4 now.  In any case, there is a new Shadowrun Returns computer game coming out from a game company called Harebrained Schemes, which I happened to of helped kickstart.]

Imagine a world about fifty years head of now. The whole world has been turned upside down, with magic resurfacing, the races of Tolkien becoming real, with people going through goblinisation, and humans giving birth to trolls, elves, dwarves, and orks.

This is the world of Shadowrun. In a place where corporations rule the economies and governments for profit, while attacking each other to get hold of the latest ‘bleeding edge’ technology and products. The shadows – the place outside the law – are where shadowrunners rule. As a role play game, you are a shadowrunner, living outside the law, doing the dirty work of the corporations and breaking and entering, doing various missions, all for the cash to get the latest technology.

Oh, did I mention that magic had become real? This role play game really does have a lot going for it. It has futuristic sci-fi ideas, in an almost recognisable setting, with fantasy races, magic, and big guns!
One of these role play games, you take the role of a shadowrunner, and there are no ‘careers’ as such, but several archetypes. For example:

  • Street samurai – High on honour, martial skill, tough, with sheer destructive power, this is the fighter of the future. Using cyberware (Mechanical parts implanted directly into the body to ‘upgrade’ parts), guns, and awesome skills, a street sam is just the thing that a shadowrun group needs to uneven the odds in favour of them, and against the corpers.
  • Decker – a hacker of the future. No boring typing for this guy, deckers have computers wired directly into their brain. Using 3d topography, in the Internet version 2 – the Matrix. A 3d environment where thoughts are actions, and computers take on a persona. Deckers are great to get the information you need to get the job done.
  • Investigator – In the dark and dirty streets of shadowrun, there needs to be someone to dig up the dirt. The investigator is the guy to do it. Knowing the streets and having the contacts to get the information needed, this shadowrunner is a person who can find out anything. Not really a fighter, armed with trusty equipment, and a string of contacts, still a worthy member.
  • Rigger – either with an army of drones at your command, or the ability to drive any vehicle that moves, with the repair skills to get it moving, a rigger is the addition for any role play game group that needs to get moving. More trusting of machines, than people, any shadowrunning team will need the backup that this member provides.
  • Mages – there are several types of mages, but they are all powerful. There are hermetic mages which are academic wizards, who learn spells by rote, and shamans, similar to the native American shamen. Then there are aspected mages, who study one part of magic in depth, but lack the wider perceptions that having magic bestows.
  • Adepts – one of my favourite forms of shadowrunner. These channel the power of magic through their body to become awesome. Gaining many of the abilities that street sams get, but with none of the disadvantages, plus access to many other levels of ability. The comfort of knowing that you can only ever get more powerful is one of the things I like, with sams limited by their meatbod.

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